Twins third baseman Miguel Sano was detained at a police station in the Dominican Republic early Sunday morning, according to multiple reports in that country, after allegedly running over the foot of a police officer with his car, breaking the officer’s leg.
Sano was arrested but later released, according to the Dominican news website Diario Libre, after agreeing, through his lawyers, to return to the police station Monday morning.
A report in the Spanish-language El Nuevo Diario said the police officer, identified as Angel Guillandrex, suffered a fractured left fibula and tibia in the incident shortly after 3 a.m. According to a translation of the newspaper’s story, the officer “ordered Sano to stop at a checkpoint, but he continued [and] ran over the uniformed officer, leaving him with serious damage.” The story included a photo of the officer in the hospital, his left leg in a cast.
A police report published by several outlets said Sano and his wife were stopped in a vehicle without license plates shortly after leaving a nightclub in his hometown of San Pedro de Macoris. Sano reportedly was not carrying identification, and as he attempted to leave the checkpoint, he ran over the officer’s foot, the document said.
It remains unclear whether there was an altercation between Sano and the officer. Diario Libre said Sano “expressed willingness to … pay for medical and recovery expenses” for Guillandrex before being released by police.
The Twins and Major League Baseball have been made aware of the situation, a team spokesman said, but declined to comment beyond saying “we are still gathering the facts.” The incident, if Sano is found to be at fault, is undoubtedly alarming for a team that has long considered him to be one of its most important players for the future.
Sano, 25, returned to the Dominican after the Twins’ season ended last week. The 2017 All-Star played only once after suffering a knee injury Sept. 4, closing a disappointing 2018 season with a .199 average, 13 home runs, 41 RBI and 115 strikeouts in 71 games.
The incident is the second off-field controversy to involve the slugging third baseman in past year. Last December, Sano was accused of sexual assault in 2015 by a Twin Cities photographer. Sano denied the charge, an MLB investigation uncovered insufficient evidence of guilt, and Sano was not punished by MLB.
On the field, Sano’s injury-marred season was the worst of his four-year MLB career. He reported to training camp out of shape after being unable to work out during the winter because of surgery to insert a metal rod into in his left shin to treat a stress reaction that cost him the final six weeks of the 2017 season. Sano also missed a month after suffering a strained left hamstring in late April. And in June, as his batting average spiraled down toward .200 and his strikeouts skyrocketed, the Twins demoted Sano to Class A Fort Myers for a month to lose weight and correct his swing.
Sano left Minnesota vowing to devote himself to the workouts he was unable to perform a year ago.
“Big winter. Work hard,” Sano said Sept. 30, when asked his plans for the winter as he packed up his locker. “Get stronger and better.”
That’s the team’s plan, too. The Twins operate an academy and training facility for rookies and Dominican prospects in Boca Chica, about 20 miles from San Pedro de Macoris, and have hopes that Sano will take advantage of it.
“We’re going to be very focused this offseason in doing whatever we can to put the best possible resources” around Sano, Twins General Manager Thad Levine said last week.